From 2022 onwards, Metsä Group will review the herb-rich forests in forests owned by owner-members and intensify its guidance for the management of herb-rich forests. These measures will supplement the Metsä Group ecological sustainability programme, which was started in 2020 and is implemented in commercial forests.
“Our primary recommendation for herb-rich forests in commercial forests owned by owner-members is nature management and, for the best sites, voluntary conservation. Decisions about forest management are always made by the forest owner”, says Juha Mäntylä, COO of Metsäliitto Cooperative.
The herb-rich forests in commercial forests are usually small, enclosed patches surrounded by heath forests. Since herb-rich forests are among the most fertile forest types, from an individual forest owner’s perspective, a herb-rich forest can also be of significant financial value.
Recommending nature management means putting an emphasis on management measures that improve biodiversity instead of tree growth in the management of herb-rich forests.
“Although herb-rich forests only constitute 1–2% of Finnish forests by area, approximately 45% of threatened species primarily dwell in herb-rich forests. The biodiversity of forest nature is safeguarded in many ways. When we recommend nature management for herb-rich forests, we direct management measures to the places where they have the greatest impact on biodiversity. Training for our personnel has already begun so that they will be prepared to advise our owner-members in herb-rich forest management”, says Mäntylä.
Metsäliitto Cooperative, the parent company of Metsä Group, is owned by approximately 100,000 Finnish forest owners. They own around 50% of Finland’s privately owned forests.
In 2020, Metsä Group started its ecological sustainability programme, which is implemented in commercial forests. In addition to increasing the carbon sinks of forests, the programme’s goals include safeguarding biodiversity and the improvement of water protection. The new policy for the management of herb-rich forests supplements the measures by which Metsä Group and forest owners are safeguarding the biodiversity of forest nature.